Iago Guilty Essay

Shakespeare's Iago is one of Shakespeare's most complex villains. At first glance Iago's character seems to be pure evil. However, such a villain would distract from the impact of the play and would be trite. Shakespeare to add depth to his villain makes him amoral, as opposed to the typical immoral villain. Iago's entire scheme begins when the "ignorant, ill-suited" Cassio is given the position he desired. Iago is consumed with envy and plots to steal the position he feels he most justly deserves. Iago deceives, steals, and kills to gain that position. However, it is not that Iago pushes aside his conscience to commit these acts, but that he lacks a conscience to begin with. Iago's amorality can be seen throughout the play and is demonstrated by his actions. For someone to constantly lie and deceive one's wife and friends, one must be extremely evil or, in the case of Iago, amoral. In every scene in which Iago speaks one can point out his deceptive manner. Iago tricks Othello into beleiving that his own wife is having an affair, without any concrete proof. Othello is so caught up in Iago's lies that he refuses to believe Desdemona when she denies the whole thing. Much credit must be given to Iago's diabolical prowess which enables him to bend and twist the supple minds of his friends and spouse. In today's society Iago would be called a psychopath without a conscience not the devil incarnate. Iago also manages to steal from his own friend without the slightest feeling of guilt. He embezzles the money that Roderigo gives him to win over Desdemona. When Roderigo discovers that Iago has been hoarding his money he screams at Iago and threatens him. However, when Iago tells him some fanciful plot in order to capture Desdemona's heart Roderigo forgets Iago's theft and agrees to kill Cassio. Iago's keen intellect is what intrigues the reader most. His ability to say the right things at the right time is what makes him such a successful villain. However, someone with a conscience would never be able to keep up such a ploy and deceive everyone around him. This is why it is necessary to say that Iago is amoral, because if you don't his character becomes fictional and hard to believe. At the climactic ending of the play, Iago's plot is given away to Othello by his own wife, Emilia. Iago sees his wife as an obstacle and a nuisance so he kills her. He kills her not as much out of anger but for pragmatic reasons. Emilia is a stumbling block in front of his path. She serves no purpose to him anymore and she can now only hurt his chances of keeping the position he has been given by Othello. Iago's merciless taking of Emilia's and Roderigo's lives is another proof of his amorality. If one looks in modern day cinema, one will see the trite villain, evil to the core. Shakespeare took his villains to a higher level. He did not make them transparent like the villains of modern cinema. He gave his villains depth and spirit. Iago is a perfect example of "Shakespeare's villain." His amorality and cynicism give, what would be a very dull character, life.


Essay about Iago Of Othello

709 Words3 Pages

Iago of "Othello"

What makes a good villain? What qualities make one villain stand out from another? Is it their demeanor, ruthlessness, or the methods that they employ to accomplish their tasks? In any case, a great villain must leave the reader with a respect for their methods and a question about their motives. In Shakespeare's Othello, there is one character in Iago that fulfills all of these qualifications. Iago is a wonderful villain because he gains other's trust, relentlessly takes advantage of his peers' flaws, and unapologetically causes the deaths of his counterparts in order to achieve his goals. The main weapon Iago used in his villainy was trust. Iago knew how to play to each character's personality to get them to…show more content…

Aside from being Othello's right-hand man throughout a majority of the play, he also has a level of comfort with Cassio. This comfort is shown in his willingness to talk about Desdemona when the two are on night patrol. This reliance was something Iago exploited each time he had a chance. Every time a desire was expressed, Iago was there with a solution that always benefited Iago in the end. For instance, it was Iago that suggested to Roderigo that he attempt to kill Cassio in order to get Desdemona to be interested in him. It was also Iago's work in stoking up the fires of revenge in Othello's belly regarding the "affair" between Desdemona and Cassio. For each situation, every word that was said was for the advancement of Iago and the destruction of all others. Iago also acts as a contributor to each character's flaws in the play. For example, in act two, Iago influences Cassio to have some drinks in order to start a quarrel between Cassio and Roderigo. In another example, in act three, Iago gets Othello to believe that there is an affair between Desdemona and Cassio by building on the suspicions and doubts that Othello had before Iago even spoke to him. Finally, as the "smoking gun" that Othello was looking for, Iago presents the handkerchief to Othello along with a fabricated story about it's whereabouts. These actions contribute to the eventual demise of all of these characters, but it also leads to

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